Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Hempstead last year.  

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in Hempstead last year.   Credit: Howard Schnapp

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Saturday that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo canceled a meeting with him while in Washington about New York’s suspension from federal prescreened traveler programs, but Cuomo denied it and said he still wants to meet.

Trump tweeted about the cancellation a day after Cuomo announced Friday that New York State would sue the Trump administration for “political extortion” for blocking New Yorkers from programs that allow travelers to get through airport and other travel security faster.

“Governor Cuomo wanted to see me this weekend. He just canceled,” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon. “Very hard to work with New York — So stupid. All they do is sue me all the time!”

But Cuomo told reporters at the National Governors Association meeting Saturday in Washington that he didn’t cancel the meeting, as Trump had tweeted, and that he still wanted to meet with the president. 

“The fact is, my office called to ask for a meeting. I wanted to talk to him about the Trusted Traveler Program and we’re waiting to hear,” Cuomo said. “I didn’t cancel any meeting. I’m waiting to find out when we can meet.”

The White House press office did not have an immediate explanation for the president’s tweet, or a response to Cuomo’s denial that he canceled the meeting.

 On Saturday night, Cuomo tweeted a response to Trump: "#FakeNews. My office requested a meeting with Trump to discuss why he continues to attack NYS, hurting ALL New Yorkers - Democrats and Republicans - with the SALT tax increase, Gateway, LaGuardia, Second Ave Subway and now by impeding airport and border crossings with his political revocation of the TTP. His legacy will be that no President has ever told NY to 'drop dead' more times than Trump. There was never a meeting scheduled to be canceled. Still waiting for a day and time to have a real meeting to have a substantive discussion about these serious issues." 

Trump made his comments in a retweet of Rep. Elise Stefanik's (R-Schuylerville) complaint that the governor’s “reckless Green Light Law is hindering” law enforcement and preventing access by “law abiding citizens” to federal travel programs.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it would bar New Yorkers applying for most of its Trusted Travel Programs, including Global Entry, which prescreens travelers to allow them to more quickly go through security checkpoints for land, sea and air travel. The ban would not include the $85, five-year TSA Precheck program for airport screening.

At issue is New York’s Green Light Law that went into effect Dec. 14.

The law allows immigrants in the country without legal authorization to obtain driver's licenses that can’t be used for federal identification. It also requires DHS to get a court order to obtain New York driver’s license records.

“The New York law has a crippling impact on integrity of these travel programs, and without access to New York records systems, our personnel are unable to conduct risk assessments to screen out criminal histories,” said Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Cuomo accused the Trump administration of trying to “extort” him and New York State, and refuses to turn over records to DHS’ Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency to find and deport people in the United States illegally.

With Michael Gormley

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